Wednesday, 1 December 2010

14th December - Bristol Red and Bristol Blue

´Bristol Red and Bristol Blue´ by Ian Donaldson on Tuesday 14th December, Dept of Earth Sciences, Wills Building, University of Bristol, 7.30.
Everyone knows of Bristol Blue cobalt glass, but few have heard of William Cookworthy's involvement with it, and his three important discoveries. Few too have heard of Bristol Red. It depended crucially on Alum. An Elizabethan naturalist discovered the secret of making alum from shale, and broke a lucrative Papal monopoly during The Reformation. This was the start of an industry based on rocks dug from the North Yorkshire coast, the Thames Estuary, and at Campsie, near Glasgow. Alum was made in Bristol for over a hundred years, until the 1970s.
Everyone is welcome - mince pies and refreshments - courtesy of WEGA.


Benjamin Blue said...

Bristol Blue Glass was revived by Peter Hewlett in the 1980s, almost 70 years after the last Blue Glass factory closed in the the early 1900s. Any company claiming to be the original today is bogus.

Ian Donaldson said...

I don't know Peter Hewlett, but recently I had a long one-to-one conversation with James Adlington, who then gave me a personal tour of his Bristol Blue Glass factory, and historic glass collection, in Brislington. Bristol Museum states that Bristol Blue should now be regarded as a colour, and not an indication of where an item was made. Cookworthy bought the exclusive rights to import Saxon smalt through the port of Bristol, from whence it was distributed up and down the country, mainly for use by potters, not glassmakers.

Did you get to my lecture ? If you live locally, I may be able to repeat it to an interested audience. Cheers!
Ian Donaldson.

Anonymous said...

Benjamin is correct. Peter HEWLETT revived Bristol Blue Glass and as his wife, I should know - I was there!
Peter sadly died unexpectedly in April 2013.
Both myself and Peter attended the opening of Peter StClair's shop on Park Street Bristol about 18 months to 2 years AFTER Peter HEWLETT had been producing Blue Glass. Any claims by anyone else to have revivied production before Peter HEWLETT are eroneous.